From Adam to Christ
s. van mierlo.
Translated from Dutch.
Adam — Christ
The apostle Paul sets the first man, Adam, to the second man, Christ. (1 Cor. 15:45 — 49). There is also mention of the « old man » (Rom. 6:6, Eph 4:22, Col. 3:9) and the « new man » (Eph. 2:15, 4:24). The first is under the sovereignty of sin and is a slave; the second is justified from sin and is therefore free. Adam and the old man belong to the old creation, Christ and the new man to the new creation (2 Cor 5:17, Gal 6:15).
Old and New Creation
The attentive reader will notice that only Paul speaks about the new creation and the new man. It is the basis of his Gospel. He teaches us that for us the transition from the old to the new man takes place on the cross. Anyone who died with Christ, was baptized into Him and into His death, thus surrendering everything that belongs to the old man, has left the old humanity in the spirit. He no longer has fellowship with the sinful Adam. The old man was crucified with Christ. Through his spiritual fellowship with the Righteous he is now also justified, according to the position, and belongs to the new creation. There is neither Jew nor Gentile (Galatians 3:28, 6:15). He is « in Christ Jesus ».
Once again we emphasize the radical difference between the Gospel of Paul and that of the Twelve. The special task of the latter was to lead Israel, as a people, to repentance and to the belief that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. That conversion was the necessary requirement for the coming of the Kingdom on earth. This Kingdom and the whole future aion is, however, still part of the old creation, for the new creation begins first, except for the spiritual life, in the fifth aion (Rev.21).
The message of the cross, concerning the spiritual transition of a humanity and a creation to a new one, is not mentioned by Peter, James and Jude. Their mission was limited to the realization of God's counsel in connection with Israel, to the completion of the prophecies concerning the earthly Kingdom and the rebirth of the world. In that earthly sphere, Israel, as God's chosen people, remains completely separated from every other people. The twelve tribes of Israel must form a royal priesthood, the God-chosen means of spreading His promised blessings throughout the earth and coming to universal restitution. It is thus seen that the Twelve could not proclaim Paul's Gospel, as this message goes on and is already connected with the new creation, where neither Jew nor Gentile is; where neither nationality nor man nor woman nor « external religion » exists. Paul proclaims this gospel as a result of Israel's hardening and in part to bring the nation to jealousy.
The new sphere is not, however, opened to close the earthly sphere, but on the contrary to make it reach its goal, through the conversion of Israel.
Church and Israel
In the present circumstances, Paul's special message will only affect a few. It will first be generally accepted after the world has come to being born again through Israel. So it is only after the Kingdom on earth that the new heavens and earth come and that there is no more death and God can « dwell » with men, because they are no longer sinners, but just.
The Gospel of Paul, now accepted only by a few individuals, by exception, will then be answered by all. Thus the whole, believing humanity, which then exists, will have part in the crucifixion and pass to the new humanity. One sees what confusion one had to come to when in the present evil aion, in which satan is the « god », he claimed that the church replaced Israel. One should therefore take over Israel's task in connection with the world conversion, which, incidentally, was attempted to some extent.
Nevertheless, one remains in the old creation and in the earthly sphere, and one can not follow Paul. That is why he was abandoned by so many. In addition, there are other difficulties: in that earthly sphere, according to Scripture, separation continues between Israel as a nation, and the nations; how can one then come to a unity? On earth it is Israel that has to convert the nations, and not the nations convert Israel. Furthermore, if the church were to replace Israel, it would have to dominate the whole world, also in the political field. It should form a visible unity with a visible Head.
Perhaps it is asked whether it is possible that e.g. John would have remained in the sphere of the old man, that he would not have been « in Christ Jesus » and thus would not have reached the sphere of new creation. Perhaps they also doubt whether the Kingdom on earth would still be subject to sin and belong to the old creation. This doubt can arise because we have, in the past, misinterpreted by not properly distinguishing the designations of Scripture; or because under the influence of tradition we have accepted some concepts without having tested them against the Scriptures themselves.
If we examine the Scriptures without a predetermined opinion, it appears that John never speaks about the new creation or the new man. The expression « in Christ Jesus » is unknown to him. Hardly he speaks about justice, and then he does not attach that word to the meaning Paul usually gives, and in which man is dead with respect to sin.
John deals only with relative righteousness (1) and confines himself to the forgiveness of sins and regeneration. He also does not speak of reconciliation (2), but remains with the concept of a « atoning sacrifice », (3) that « covers » sin. He does not know the remission (4), but only the temporary forgiveness (5). It is only to a very limited degree that he speaks of the power of the blood of Jesus; he speaks only of ceremonial purification, in the sense that the Old Testament attaches to it (6). He also speaks only about « children of God » and never about the « adoption of sons ».
To move from the old humanity to the new one, one must personally be crucified with Christ, and John, nor any other apostle of circumcision, speaks of the cross in connection with the believer!
One usually forgets that John is one of the « apostles of circumcision » and that he addresses (believing) Jews. If one compares his gospel to Paul's with some attention, one will see that John confined himself to the sphere to which his vocation belonged. All this, of course, does not prevent everything that does not concern the national existence of Israel, but that which is personally applicable, and is therefore addressed to every person, is very necessary and useful. But John goes no further than regeneration. To continue on the way of salvation, one has to follow Paul and thus come to the justification, and even further. John, like the other apostles of circumcision, speaks only about things that have already been revealed (7).
Let us now examine the question concerning the condition of the believers on earth during the Kingdom. They can not say with Paul: « For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death » (Rom. 8:2) They must follow the law in all its precepts, if they belong to Israel, and they remain subject to sin. But they have the true sacrifice, Christ, who can cleanse them from all sin if they confess these sins (1 John 1:8, 9).
Satan is bound in the future aion and the curse is taken away from the old creation: in a certain sense one returns to the original adamite state of the second aion. The presence of the Messiah, of Abraham and of the twelve apostles, the working of the New Covenant, the immediate judgment of evil, the working of the spiritual powers belonging to that aion, all this will be those of good will, make it possible to walk in the light.
But the believers of that time generally remain in the earthly sphere of regeneration and come first to the new creation at the end of the future aion. Perhaps we may suppose that some, both from Israel and from the nations, die with Christ and come to justification. Those Jews must in this case renounce their national privileges. Leaving everything that binds them to Adam will then, through faith, come into close spiritual fellowship with Christ. Yet many centuries will be needed to lead the whole world, free to surrender themselves completely to God. Only the principle of freedom allows us to understand why such long time spaces are needed to realize God's purpose. God does not treat His creatures as dolls but as reasonable thinking people, who can choose for Him, to glorify His Name!
1. James speaks about the relative justification of him who acts according to certain precepts. So this justification is due to his works.
2. Katallasso and Apokatallasso.
3. Hilasmos, 1 John. 2:2; 4:10.
4. Charizomai, as in Eph 4:32.
5. Afiemi, Mat. 18:27 — 35.
6. Compare 1 Joh. 1:7 and 2:2 with Lev. 16:30.
7. See e.g. 2 Pet. 1:12; 3:2; 1 John 2:7, 21, 24; 2 John 5; Jude 5
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